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FEATURE ARTICLE 2
VolunTourism: Maintaining Its Integrity - Q&A With Lawrence Woo
Below are both my letter with the questions, asked of Lawrence Woo & his team at Volunteer Visions, and his responses.
(Editor's Note: "questions" and "responses" are unedited.)
Dear Lawrence Woo & Team,
My name is David Clemmons. I am the Founder of VolunTourism.org. I publish and edit a quarterly newsletter entitled "The VolunTourist." VolunTourism.org is a program of Los Ninos, Inc., a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization. (Please visit www.losninosintl.org)
I wanted to alert you that I have received a complaint regarding your organization. I am not posting the complaint at this time. I want to give you an opportunity to respond fully to the complaint.
What I will be doing is publishing my approach to conducting an initial background check on your organization. Here is what I have done so far, along with my questions to which you may respond. Your responses, if any, will be included in the article which will be published later this week.
1) Volunteer Visions uses a .org suffix yet is not registered with the United States Internal Revenue Service Publication 78 as a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization.
Here are my questions for you related to Point #1:
a) If the IRS has overlooked your registration, could you please supply a letter that demonstrates your 501 (c)3 nonprofit status?
b) If you are not registered in the U.S. as a nonprofit, are you a nonprofit in Costa Rica?
c) If you are neither a nonprofit in the U.S., nor Costa Rica, i.e., you are a for-profit company, why are you utilizing a .org suffix? (Although it is allowable for any entity to use a .org suffix, according to the IANA.org web site, the web site also states that "It (a .org domain suffix) is intended to serve the noncommercial community")
d) Do you have an EIN number in the United States? Or are you a Costa Rican Company?
2) According to your "Who Is" Registry on PIR.org, your Admin Street is: Contiguo al Hotel Las Brisas Del Pacifico, Casa Amarilla; your Admin City: Playa Samara; your Admin State: New York; your Admin zip: 10011; your admin country: US; your admin phone: 506.656.0373
Here are my comments & questions related to Point #2:
a) I was unable to find Playa Samara, New York, 10011 when doing an online search, can you tell me where Playa Samara, New York is?
b) If there is no Playa Samara, New York 10011, why would you register a domain name with Admin information that is not accurate?
c) I noted that the URL account was established in February 2007, did you start your organization then? If not, when?
3) As it relates to the telephone number that you post on your web site as your phone: 330-871-4511,
a) When I do a "reverse" phone lookup on 411.com, this number comes up as a land line in Ohio. Why would you use Mountain Time for your office hours with a land line posted in an eastern-time zone?
b) Does this phone number forward to offices in Costa Rica? This is a common practice with entities that have operations outside of the U.S.
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